Title & Series: MENAGERIE (Menagerie #1)
Author: Rachel Vincent
Release date: September 29, 2015
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
When Delilah Marlow visits a famous traveling carnival, Metzger’s Menagerie, she discovers a fierce creature lurking just beneath her human veneer. Captured and put on exhibition, she’s forced to “perform” in town after town.
But there is breathtaking beauty behind the seamy and grotesque reality of the carnival. Her handler is as kind as he is cryptic and strong. The other “attractions” are strange, yes, but they share a bond forged by the brutal realities of captivity. And as Delilah struggles for her freedom, and for her fellow menagerie, she’ll discover a strength and a purpose she never knew existed.
Note: This review is based on an eARC received from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book.
MENAGERIE is fascinating and unique and incredibly imaginative. It’s a story quite like no other with its unusual array of interesting and exotic characters. It’s a story that will break your heart, will make you think, and will make you rail against the injustice toward, and inhumane treatment of, the beautiful and terrifying and extraordinary creatures that make up the menagerie.
Author Rachel Vincent invites readers into a world that is dark and intriguing, strange and seductive and spellbinding, harsh and heartbreaking, vicious and cruel. And she gives them a glimpse of what life is really like behind the scenes of Metzger’s Menagerie for its reluctant performers.
When Delilah Marlow first visited Metzger’s Menagerie she was both captivated and repulsed by what she saw. Years later when the show was back in town she found herself just as drawn to the beasts, the oddities, the spectacle. But an act of cruelty toward one of its young and helpless performers enraged Delilah in a way she hadn’t ever been before, revealing to her, her friends, and everyone who witnessed her transformation that she is not so different from the curiosities in the menagerie they’d come to gawk at.
Finding out she was not human and that the life she had planned was no longer possible was devastating. Being taken into captivity and forced to make sense of a power she hadn’t even known she had in order to perform for the menagerie was an absolute nightmare. One without end, unless she could find a way to use her power to escape her captors and flee to a place where she could exist, undetected, and live free from persecution.
MENAGERIE isn’t a story for the faint of heart. It doesn’t tread lightly when it reveals the barbaric conditions the captives are forced to endure. It tackles all of its very real and relatable issues head on. It will give readers plenty of food for thought – about human nature, about fear-based actions, about a human’s capacity for cruelty, about what makes someone human. It will give them characters to love, to root for, to sympathize with. It will show them how important that hope, the will to survive, and a fighting spirit can be in the face of heartlessness, insensitivity, oppression, barbarity.
Rachel Vincent has proven herself a masterful and inventive writer with this brilliant and heartrending first installment in her new series. MENAGERIE is amazing and wonderful and disturbing and touching and an absolutely riveting and insanely good read.
Like In-N-Out Burger‘s infamous secret menu this one deserves my off-the-menu 6 star rating.
About Rachel Vincent
Rachel Vincent is a former English teacher and an eager champion of the Oxford comma. She shares her home in Oklahoma with two cats, two teenagers, and her husband, who’s been her # 1 fan from the start. Rachel is older than she looks and younger than she feels, and she remains convinced that writing about the things that scare her is the cheapest form of therapy—but social media is a close second.